Air New Zealand Flight Delayed For Two Hours After Passenger Died Midflight

By Sharelle Burt


Its normal to have flight delays due to technical issues or poor time management. A delay caused by someone’s death, however, is almost unheard of.

An Air New Zealand was delayed for two hours after a passenger died midflight. The flight was headed to Auckland from Hong Kong when the crew learned that a passenger, in his 60s, had died. A staff member called for medical assistance over plane’s speakers. There was a doctor on board who assisted the man, who at one point was wearing an oxygen mask. Crew members even used an onboard defibrillator to try and save the diabetic passenger, but their efforts were too late. “He was hunched over—he didn’t look in a good way,” reporter Gerald Hutching said.

RELATED: New Zealand Asks Tourists To Sign Environmental Pledge While Visiting 

The aircraft headed to Cairns, Australia to handle the issue probably but things got a little rocky. No one was around the remove the body from the plane, and the pilot didn’t want passengers to use air bridge, allowing them to see the deceased body. Afterward, the crew mistakenly brought the wrong size steps to the plane, so paramedics were delayed from boarding. They were forced to climb the aircraft from the top of the stairs to get to the passenger.

A spokesperson for the airline did make a statement regarding the medical emergency. “NZ80 (Hong Kong–Auckland) diverted to Cairns on Monday morning when a passenger became unwell shortly after departure,” the statement read. “As you’ll appreciate, due to privacy reasons, we’re unable to share further details about the passenger. After leaving Cairns, the aircraft continued on to Auckland, arriving about two hours after its scheduled arrival time.”

Airport officials said the deceased passenger had forgotten to take his insulin. Most diabetic patients need to take at least two insulin shots a day to balance a good blood sugar level.

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Sharelle Burt

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